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The Poetry of Thought: From Hellenism to Celan Hardcover – January 24, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0811219457 ISBN-10: 0811219453 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; 1 edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811219453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811219457
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Poetry of Thought is denser in its language, more disquieting in its arguments, more in line with Steiner’s stronger works, such as Heidegger (1978) and many of the essays collected in No Passion Spent (1996). Steiner’s overall subject here is the interlocked nature of poetic language and philosophical thought, and how the intellect manifests itself through this connection.” (Rain Taxi)

About the Author

Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University and the author of dozens of books (The Death of Tragedy, After Babel, Martin Heidegger, In Bluebeard’s Castle), George Steiner is one of the world’s foremost intellectuals.

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Customer Reviews

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Steiner is the kind of writer whose style matches the content of his ideas in depth, elegance, and allusiveness.
Tatjana Kazan
The book is a delightful, challenging exploration of poetic force in human culture and particularly in Western philosophic thought.
A. Doug Floyd
A great little book by critic and scholar George Steiner about the complicated relationship of literature to philosophy.
Steiner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on June 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great little book by critic and scholar George Steiner about the complicated relationship of literature to philosophy. Few are as well equipped as Steiner in divulging the history of the close moments of contact between the great thinkers of system and totality and the major poets of the West. Steiner takes us through an impressive tour of the emergence of philosophy in Greece (with excellent commentaries on Heraclitus and Plato), as he reconstructs the primal, philosophical disavowal, and banishment of the poets from Plato's great academy. Yet for Steiner, the fundamental necessity of such a collusion resides in the very fact of language-of the need to think and create poetically in language. Steiner is absolutely meticulous as he moves through the major titans of this special encounter: from Plato and the Greek Tragedians to Heidegger and Celan, this little text is a great gift for students and readers. While never overly technical, Steiner refuses to dumb down. This is essay writing as it should be.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Doug Floyd VINE VOICE on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George Steiner opens this series of essays on the power of poetic speech with a contrast between the precision of mathematics and music and the imprecision and many weaknesses of language. Then he offers a resounding acclamation of language, proclaiming, "Words, imprecise, time-bound as they are, construct remembrance and articulate futurity. Hope is future tense." For me, this quote captures the force and call of this text. In one sentence, he captures the essential power of the poetic, the speech that creates the future and the world. I might cautiously compare Steiner to Eugen Rosenstock Huessy who suggested that true speech creates the future; all other talking is simply chatter. We live in a world of chatter with a deep need for rediscovering the voice.

The book is a delightful, challenging exploration of poetic force in human culture and particularly in Western philosophic thought. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Charles Steiner TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This review is from: The Poetry of Thought: From Hellenism to Celan (Hardcover)

Notwithstanding the first reviewer's easy, general accolades, this much must be said: the book is written as a tribute only to a glorious past while also confessing a crisis of faith in the present and for the future. George Steiner knows that when science can determine everything and explain everything in terms of chemical interactions and the lack of free will, even thought itself is rendered helpless, mute. That the author admits on pages 216-217 that "the humanities" have bleakly failed us puts the coffin lid on the entire substance of the book. Steiner cannot think his way through or out of the materialistic system in which we now find ourselves except to hope for that "rebellious singer, a philosopher inebriate" who will one day say "No." But he himself is not the one, nor does all his knowledge of the past offer him any guide for the future. It is with a complete sense of failure that the book closes.

George Steiner, with his continuing use of deceptive, inflated, know-it-all language so as to hide the clichés he actually thinks and writes by, famously exposed by Joseph Epstein in a collection of essays "In a Cardboard Belt," intones the death-knell for culture and a bleak future ahead as his conclusion for the book. What is given in the first chapter through the penultimate one of this book -- one chapter of which revoltingly discusses materialist Karl Marx as a poetic thinker, a sure sign of incipient addlepated thinking and pure pretentiousness at the same time since he did not, according to Elizabeth Dilling in her 1983 book, "The Jewish Religion: Its Influence Today," did not originate anything but merely "streamlined Talmudism for Gentile consumption" -- is mere (deadening) nostalgia.
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